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Congratulations, Millennials! You’re Doing Way Better Than People Think.

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If you’re a millennial, you get a bad rap. People like to think you’re selfish. You’re debt-ridden. You’re an overconfident, social-media-addicted young person who will never leave home who lives only for self-affirmation. And of course you have committed the cardinal sin against earlier generations: You’re young!

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But the truth is a little different. And pretty darn encouraging. How do we know? We looked at the data. Here’s what we learned when our number crunchers checked out the details on Canadians under the age of 35.

Millennials Are Better Educated and More Responsible Than Their Parents.

Millennials are the first generation for whom it’s more common to obtain a bachelor’s degree than just a high school diploma.

Not only that, but Canadian millennials are paying off their student debt faster than Canadians under the age of 35 did 20 years ago—of those who take on debt, one in three pay it off entirely within three years.

And even though tuition cost has increased, the number of people graduating from undergraduate school without any debt has increased from 51% to 57% between 2000 to 2010.

Male Millennials Are Doing Better Financially Than Their Counterparts a Generation Ago.

Incomes for men under the age of thirty five took a big hit in the recessions of the early 80s and 90s. But since then, incomes for this age group have risen. Male millennials are doing better than their counterparts a generation ago, and have incomes that are even beginning to approach an all-time high.

Female Millennials Are Doing Financially Better Than Their Counterparts

On average, young women have higher incomes today than at any time in the past. Which might say a lot more about income inequality (though there's lots of room to improve) than it does about unparalleled financial opportunity. But we’ll take it.

Across both males and females, the average net worth of this age group has increased from $23,300 in 1999 to $25,300 in 2012.

And They’re Being Smart With That Wealth.

Today, on average, people under 35 have significantly more total assets, available cash, and nonpension financial assets than the previous generation. And they’ve invested twice as much in RRSPs as the same age group did two decades ago.

They’ve also been good at smart saving. Millennials have contributed an average of $7,600 to tax-free savings accounts. In fact, millennials now have yearly investment incomes averaging near $3,000.

They’re Also Buying Homes.

From 1999 to 2012, the number of Canadians under age 35 who purchased homes increased from 32% to 34%. This despite the fact that homes have only gotten significantly more expensive in every part of Canada.

So if you’re a millennial, next time someone criticizes you for being “entitled,” maybe you should think to yourself, Yep, I am entitled, considering how hard I’ve been working and how wise I’ve been with my money.

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Just don’t say it out loud.


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Anne Helen Petersen explains how things are different for the generation the world seems to love to hate.


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